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Russia-Ukraine war live: public support in Russia for military campaign ‘falling significantly’, says UK


Public support in Russia for war ‘falling significantly’, says UK

The British Ministry of Defence, in its latest intelligence estimate, has pointed to new signs from an independent Russian media outlet that public support in Russia for the military campaign was “falling significantly”.

Meduza, a website reporting Russian news from Latvia, says it had obtained a recent confidential opinion survey conducted by the Federal Protection Service, which is in charge of guarding the Kremlin and providing security to top government officials.

The survey, commissioned by the Kremlin, found that 55% of respondents backed peace talks with Ukraine while 25% wanted the war to go on. The report didn’t mention the margin of error.

Levada Center, Russia’s top independent pollster, found in a similar poll carried out in November poll that 53% of respondents supported peace talks, 41% spoke in favour of continuing the fight, and 6% were undecided. That poll of 1,600 people had a margin of error of no more than 3.4%.

The British MoD noted that:

Despite the Russian authorities’ efforts to enforce pervasive control of the information environment, the conflict has become increasingly tangible for many Russians since the September 2022 partial mobilisation.
“With Russia unlikely to achieve major battlefield successes in the next several months, maintaining even tacit approval of the war amongst the population is likely to be increasingly difficult for the Kremlin.

In recent weeks, Russia’s military focus has been on striking Ukrainian infrastructure and pressing an offensive in the east, near the town of Bakhmut, while shelling sites in the city of Kherson, which Ukrainian forces liberated last month after an eight-month Russian occupation.

Key events

A summary of today’s developments

  • The British Ministry of Defence, in its latest intelligence estimate, pointed to signs from an independent Russian media outlet that public support in Russia for the military campaign was “falling significantly”.

  • The US expects “reduced tempo” in fighting to continue over the winter months, the top US intelligence chief Avril Haines has said.

  • Haines, speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, also alluded to past allegations by some that advisers to the Russian president Vladimir Putin could be shielding him from bad news – for Russia – about war developments, and said he “is becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces in Russia”.

  • Russia will not sell oil that is subject to a western price-cap even if it has to cut production, Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday. The G7 and Australia agreed to the price-cap on Friday.

  • OPEC+ has agreed to stick to its oil output targets at a meeting on Sunday. OPEC+, which comprises the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, angered the US and other western nations in October when it agreed to cut output by 2m barrels a day (bpd), about 2% of world demand, from November until the end of 2023.

  • A draft resolution is circulating at the United Nations in New York for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to hold the Russian leadership accountable for crimes of aggression in Ukraine.

  • More than 500 Ukrainian localities remained without power on Sunday following weeks of Russian airstrikes on the electric grid, an interior ministry official said.

  • Ukraine is imposing sanctions on 10 senior clerics linked to a pro-Moscow church on the grounds they agreed to work with Russian occupation authorities or justified Moscow’s invasion, the security service said.

  • A top Ukrainian presidential aide criticised Twitter owner, Elon Musk, for the billionaire’s “magical simple solutions,” citing ideas put forward by the billionaire on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Twitter content moderation. Mykhailo Podolyak listed “exchang(ing) foreign territories for an illusory peace” and “open(ing) all private accounts because freedom of speech has to be total”, as examples of such suggestions.

The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has just tweeted about the issue of misinformation being spread during the conflict.

Last spring, russian propaganda about genetically-modified Ukrainian pigeons. Now, conspiracy theories about “cloned” Ukrainian soldiers. Next will be “super soldiers”genetically modified in secret biolabs.
Captain Ukraine? Nope. Every soldier of 🇺🇦 Armed Forces is a superhero.

— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) December 4, 2022

A top Ukrainian presidential aide criticised Twitter owner, Elon Musk, for the billionaire’s “magical simple solutions,” citing ideas put forward by the billionaire on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Twitter content moderation.

Mykhailo Podolyak listed “exchang(ing) foreign territories for an illusory peace” and “open(ing) all private accounts because freedom of speech has to be total”, as examples of such suggestions.

“[Elon Musk] prefers so-called magical ‘simple solutions’,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter, an apparent reference to self-described free speech advocate Musk’s plans to reform Twitter as well as a tweet in which he called for Ukraine to give up the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula in exchange for peace.

Ukraine has had a complicated relationship with Musk, the world’s richest man, since the start of the Russian invasion, Reuters reports.

He was praised for providing thousands of Starlink satellite internet devices, made by Musk’s SpaceX, to Ukraine free of charge but the friendship ran into difficulties in October when Musk voiced support for peace conditions rejected by Kyiv.

There is currently no diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine, Irina Scherbakova, a co-founder of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Russian rights organisation Memorial, said.

“I am absolutely convinced that there is not a diplomatic solution with Putin’s regime, so long as it is still there,” she said.

“The solution that there will now be is a military one,” said Scherbakova, who was presented with an award for her human rights work at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany.

“But these decisions, this diplomacy will only happen when Ukraine believes it has won this war and can set its terms.”

Scherbakova added that calls for peace were “childish”, she said, adding that things would not return to the way they were before the outbreak of the conflict.

“This war has turned so many things upside down, it will never be like that again.”

After major oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to maintain their current output levels on Sunday ahead of fresh sanctions against Moscow next week, Russia’s deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said: “We will sell oil and oil products to countries that will work with us on market terms, even if we have to reduce production somewhat.”

Even though “inflation, the tightening of monetary policies and China’s Covid-19 epidemic” were posing risks to the market, it was still “in a better state than two months ago”, Novak said, according to Russian news agencies.

“We are currently working on mechanisms to prohibit the use of the price cap tool at any level”, Novak added, stating that “such interference” could only cause “further market destabilisation and scarcity of energy resources”, AFP reports.

Moscow had repeatedly denounced the incoming oil price-cap, threatening to suspend deliveries to any country that adopted the measure.

Military medics looks at a body of a Ukrainian soldier that was brought to a frontline field hospital, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine.
Military medics looks at a body of a Ukrainian soldier that was brought to a frontline field hospital, near Bakhmut, Donetsk region, Ukraine. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA
Military medics work on a member of the Ukrainian military suffering from head and leg injuries caused by a mine, in a frontline field hospital on December 04, 2022 outside Bakhmut, Ukraine. Russia continues its campaign to seize Bakhmut, Donetsk region, in what many analysts regard as an offensive with more symbolic value than operational importance for Russia.
Military medics work on a member of the Ukrainian military suffering from head and leg injuries caused by a mine, in a frontline field hospital on Sunday outside Bakhmut, Ukraine. Russia continues its campaign to seize Bakhmut, Donetsk region, in what many analysts regard as an offensive with more symbolic value than operational importance for Russia. Photograph: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Summary

Today’s key events so far:

  • The British Ministry of Defence, in its latest intelligence estimate, pointed to signs from an independent Russian media outlet that public support in Russia for the military campaign was “falling significantly”.

  • The US expects “reduced tempo” in fighting to continue over the winter months, the top US intelligence chief Avril Haines has said.

  • Haines, speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, also alluded to past allegations by some that advisers to the Russian president Vladimir Putin could be shielding him from bad news – for Russia – about war developments, and said he “is becoming more informed of the challenges that the military faces in Russia”.

  • Russia will not sell oil that is subject to a western price-cap even if it has to cut production, Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday. The G7 and Australia agreed to the price-cap on Friday.

  • OPEC+ has agreed to stick to its oil output targets at a meeting on Sunday. OPEC+, which comprises the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, angered the US and other western nations in October when it agreed to cut output by 2m barrels a day (bpd), about 2% of world demand, from November until the end of 2023.

  • A draft resolution is circulating at the United Nations in New York for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to hold the Russian leadership accountable for crimes of aggression in Ukraine.

  • More than 500 Ukrainian localities remained without power on Sunday following weeks of Russian airstrikes on the electric grid, an interior ministry official said.

  • Ukraine is imposing sanctions on 10 senior clerics linked to a pro-Moscow church on the grounds they agreed to work with Russian occupation authorities or justified Moscow’s invasion, the security service said.

More on Russia’s response to the $60 a barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil. Reuters reports Russia will not sell oil that is subject to a western price cap even if it has to cut production, quoting President Vladimir Putin’s point man on energy.

The Group of Seven and Australia agreed to the price cap on Friday. The move to prohibit shipping, insurance and re-insurance companies from handling cargoes of Russian crude above the cap, is an attempt to punish Putin for the Ukraine conflict, Reuters reports.

The Russian deputy prime minister, Alexander Novak, said on Sunday the move by the west was a gross interference that contradicted the rules of free trade and would destabilise global energy markets by triggering a shortage of supply. He said:

We are working on mechanisms to prohibit the use of a price cap instrument, regardless of what level is set, because such interference could further destabilise the market.

We will sell oil and petroleum products only to those countries that will work with us under market conditions, even if we have to reduce production a little.

Novak said the western cap could trigger trouble in the products markets and could affect other countries beside Russia.

A source who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the situation told Reuters that a decree was being prepared to prohibit Russian companies and traders from interacting with countries and companies guided by the cap. In essence, such a decree would ban the export of oil and petroleum products to countries and companies that apply it.

Putin in September warned the west that he could cut off energy supplies if price caps were imposed, telling them that Europe would be “frozen” like a wolf’s tail, in a reference to a well-known Russian fairytale.

Russia can access enough tankers to ship most of its oil beyond the reach of a new G7 price cap, industry players and a US official told Reuters in October, underscoring the limits of the most ambitious plan yet to curb Moscow’s wartime revenue.

Patrick Wintour

Patrick Wintour

A draft resolution is circulating at the United Nations in New York for a Nuremberg-style tribunal to hold the Russian leadership accountable for crimes of aggression in Ukraine.

There are signs that US opposition to the proposal may be softening in the face of lobbying by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Beth Van Schaack, the US ambassador for global criminal justice, said this week: “It’s something that President Zelenskiy cares deeply about. This is something Ukraine wants, and I think that’s going to carry a lot of weight. The question is, will they have the votes at the general assembly?”

She added: “So far, all of the [general assembly] resolutions on Ukraine have prevailed. The numbers have been quite strong.”

The international criminal court has already started investigating war crimes in Ukraine, but Ukraine’s leadership argues that the ICC is hampered in that while it can try those charged with individual war crimes, it cannot prosecute the Kremlin leadership over the broader crime of aggression since Russia is not a signatory to the relevant statute.

Read the full report here:

Russia is working on the possibility of banning oil supplies subject to a western-imposed price cap, Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak said on Sunday, Reuters reports.

“We are working on mechanisms to prohibit the use of a price cap instrument, regardless of what level is set, because such interference could further destabilise the market,” Novak said.

Russia will not operate under a price cap, even if Moscow has to cut production, Novak said.

More than 500 Ukrainian localities remained without power on Sunday following weeks of Russian airstrikes on the electric grid, an interior ministry official said.

“The enemy continues to attack the country’s essential infrastructure. Currently, 507 localities in eight regions of our country are cut off from electricity supplies,” deputy interior minister Yevgueny Yenin told Ukrainian television, AFP reports.

“The Kharkiv region is the worst hit with 112 isolated villages,” Yenin added.

A further 90 villages were cut off in the Donetsk and Kherson regions, he said, with others in the regions of Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and Lugansk.

Repeated daily power cuts have left millions of people without heat or lighting while outside temperatures have dropped below zero Celsius (32 Fahrenheit) in recent days.

With further strikes on the network widely expected, Ukrainians fear a difficult prolonged winter as well as a flood of departures by refugees from a war now into a tenth month.

Private Ukrainian energy operator DTEK said on Thursday that nearly half of Ukraine’s electricity grid remains damaged after Russia began targeting Ukrainian energy facilities in October.

OPEC+ has agreed to stick to its oil output targets at a meeting on Sunday, two OPEC+ sources told Reuters. The decision comes two days after the Group of Seven (G7) nations agreed a price cap on Russian oil.

OPEC+, which comprises the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, angered the US and other western nations in October when it agreed to cut output by 2m barrels a day (bpd), about 2% of world demand, from November until the end of 2023.

Washington accused the group and one of its leaders, Saudi Arabia, of siding with Russia despite Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

OPEC+ argued it had cut output because of a weaker economic outlook. Oil prices have declined since October due to slower Chinese and global growth and higher interest rates.

On Friday, G7 nations and Australia agreed a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil in a move to deprive Vladimir Putin of revenue while keeping Russian oil flowing to global markets.

Moscow said it would not sell its oil under the cap and was analysing how to respond.

The head of US intelligence Avril Haines said Washington expects the ‘reduced tempo’ in the Ukraine conflict to continue over the coming months.

US expects ‘reduced tempo’ in Ukraine conflict to continue, says top intelligence official – video





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